Pedestrian crossings: young people and everyday multiculturalism

Butcher, Melissa and Harris, Anita (2010). Pedestrian crossings: young people and everyday multiculturalism. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 31(5) pp. 449–453.



Young people have been the focus of both hopes and fears about the futures of culturally diverse nations. It has become commonplace to centre youth in debates about the impact on social cohesion of rapid and increasingly diverse global flows of peoples. Concerns proliferate about the capacity of youth of migrant and refugee backgrounds to 'integrate', and about the more flexible and critical forms of citizenship and belonging that some youth are forging. Others are idealised as the new cosmopolitans, eager consumers in the global youth market and adept players in the global economy. Paradoxical images emerge. Youth are often simultaneously imagined as at the vanguard of new forms of multicultural nation-building and social cohesion, and as those most inclined towards regressive nationalism, fundamentalism and racism. Images of youth-led interfaith and intercultural harmony projects compete with those of race riots and racist youth violence, deeply complicating the public representation and interpretation of young people's place in multicultural nation-making.

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